Determining If You’re an Alcoholic
Alcohol addiction is a serious issue across the nation, according to information from National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism about 17 million adults in the United States have an alcohol use disorder. Furthermore, about 10 percent of children live in a home with an alcoholic parent and, as many know, addiction, including alcoholism, is something that can be passed down the family tree.
If you grew up with family members who were alcoholics or if you yourself believe that you are developing a problem, the first thing you need to do is take a realistic account of your situation to determine if a problem truly exists. Let’s examine what it means to be an alcoholic.
What is an Alcoholic?
An alcoholic refers to someone dealing with an alcohol use disorder, meaning their drinking has caused a number of issues that has affected their personal, social, and professional lives in a negative way. Alcohol use disorder can range from mild to severe problems but can cause several issues regardless of the severity.
Some of the most common problems that you will see in someone dealing with an alcohol use disorder includes:
Urges and Cravings to Drink – One of the most significant signs of alcoholism is a craving to drink. These cravings are urgent feelings that can make people powerless to their substance abuse. They are triggered by internal or external factors like seeing someone else drink, empty liquor bottles, or even feelings of anxiety.
Loss of Control When Drinking – Oftentimes, when someone is struggling with alcoholism, they will not be able to control their drinking habits once they begin – causing them to drink excessively. Unfortunately, this can lead to more severe issues related to poor judgement including drunk driving, acts of violence, and more.
Problematic Emotional and Mental State – For many people dealing with alcoholism, or addiction of any kind really, emotional and mental issues often are co-occurring problems that will fuel their addiction and vice versa. Problems like depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more are all common among people suffering from addiction-related issues.
Along with the inherent problems that come along with the issues listed above, there are several additional physical health problems that occur when someone does have an addiction to alcohol.
Some of the most common and dangerous physical health effects of long-term excessive drinking include:
Liver Cirrhosis – Alcoholic liver disease is something that occurs after years of heavy drinking. Over this time, scarring will occur on the liver and eventually the problem can be severe enough to lead to cirrhosis. The disease is most commonly seen in people 40 to 50 years old, with men being mainly affected. Unfortunately, liver cirrhosis can lead to numerous dangerous problems including abnormal bleeding, confusion, fever, kidney failure, and death.
Increased Risk of Cancer – One of the lesser known issues that can occur over time is an increased risk of cancer. Alcohol is a known carcinogen and can lead to a number of different cancers including oral, esophageal, colon, liver, and breast cancers.
Heart Disease – Along with the liver, the heart is one of the most affected organs in the body when it comes to alcohol. Excessive alcohol use has been shown to increase fat build-up in the arteries, in turn this can lead to a number of problems including an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.
Again, these are just some of the main issues that can occur from extended periods of drinking excessively.
Obviously, there are numerous problems associated with excessive drinking and alcoholism. If you believe that you or a loved one is dealing with some form of alcohol use disorder, it is vital to seek out professional help as soon as possible.
There are many options available to help you or your loved one with whatever form of addiction that you are struggling with. There are tons of residential addiction treatment facilities nationwide to help those who have slipped into substance abuse.
The Hope House is one luxury rehab center in Arizona dedicated to helping people achieve long-term sobriety. Nestled in the desert mountains of Scottsdale, The Hope House offers beauty, tranquility, and healing to those who are looking to conquer addiction.